So What’s the Promise?

www.bible.com/1713/eph.6.2.csb

We have a lot of Scripture to thank the Apostle for. We can attribute much of our daily practice and theology to him. Which is why this passage presents us with a problem.

Paul has written elsewhere that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the law, and that we are no longer under the law, but under grace. That said, he presents this text “Honor thy father and thy mother”, the fifth commandment, complete with its context, for this commandment contains a promise “that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land” the Lord God is sending you to, i.e., the land of Israel. Here’s why this is a problem.

The promise of the fifth commandment is to the people of Israel, so that they could occupy and inhabit the land of promise indefinitely. The promise involved a particular piece of real estate. However, Paul does qualify this promise in its original context. Instead, his quote ends at ” land”. The problem, one might argue, is that Paul is appropriating the land promises made to Israel and passing them on to the Christians of his day. In a greater argument that Paul is extending the promises (and obligations) given to Israel are also to Christians. That’s a lot of weight to put upon one verse, especially taken out of context of the rest of Paul’s words.

Rather, Paul is extending the promise here made to Israel by observing a different focus. His focus is on the promise of “long life” rather than the land. The land here really could be anywhere Christians find themselves. The strength of this promise comes from the authority of God Himself. So why do Christian children, who have honored this commandment, still die young?

Let me present the third possibility. That the land of long life promised here isn’t eighty years and dying of old age. What’s in view here, a child that honors his father and mother by clinging to the God that saved them is a child who is promised eternal life in the land God has prepared for them.

If we are honoring father and mother, we are working out God’s will in our lives. We are honoring those He chose to bring us life, and this is important, whether we actually respect them or not. Being able to honor them is to fulfill the commandment, and to honor the God that maybe even despite them, brought you to Himself.

Not every parent is perfect, and many don’t come close. But the commandment of God is non-negotiable. Honor means respect, both in life and in memory. Honor can be honest, but it must be respectful. If you have good parents, this is easy. If not, this is one of your greatest challenges. But know that we are all in this together. If you need help, ask. Let us pray with you.

I hope you can have a happy Father’s Day. God bless you all!

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The God of Comfort

www.bible.com/72/isa.66.13.hcsb

In the context of Isaiah 66, God is comparing the revival and rebuilding of Jerusalem after the exiles return to the nurture and love of a young mother for her child. The source of this comfort is the nourishing milk that a mother provides her infant, giving him ease from his hunger.

The context for Isaiah 66 is interesting. Using this comparison, God is like a nursing mother bringing and nurturing life in His city. Like a nursing mother, God provides all that is necessary for life in this place. A nursing mother does more than simply feed her child. She holds him close and speaks softly to him, comforting him. This is the image that God wishes to convey to us.

When we need comfort, His are arms that we can run to. Last fall, my father had heart problems and had to have surgery. With my father feeling so vulnerable, I experienced a moment when I felt lost. The man in my life who had always been strong was now suffering, and I had to move into a role of strength for my family. I felt terribly unprepared. I really needed someone in that moment that could tell me it was all going to be ok. I really needed a pair of arms that would hold me and whisper in my ear that everything was going to be fine. And I think if someone actually did that I probably would have melted right then. I almost did when my uncle showed up a couple of hours later. The hug I received from him was priceless.

In those moments I wished for someone I could turn to, but we all have to grow up sometime, and be that comfort for others. Where do we get that comfort? We get it from the Master Comforter. He throws His arms around us, whispers in our ear and tells us it’s going to be ok. As a comforting mother, He wraps us up in His arms and eases our anxiety and fear with love and compassion.

Be grateful to your mother today. She gave you life from her own body. Be grateful to God today. He gave you life both from beginning and from the cross.

God bless you today.

TIME OUT FOR MOM

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Mother’s Day shouldn’t just be one day a year that we give special honor to these women, but it is usually this one day that we spend extra effort to be in church. A couple of churches ago we had a gentleman who resisted the impulse to attend worship most days of the year. But on Mother’s Day, his mother requested only one gift from him, his attendance in church. She gave up special dinners, gifts and all she could expect from a son who in all other respects loved and respected her. But on this one issue, he resisted her, except on Mother’s Day. It is a special gift to give to your mother to honor her especially on Mother’s Day.

Is one day enough to show your mother you honor her by showing up in her church on Mother’s Day?

In Joshua 1:17 it says “Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the LORD your God be with you, as he was with Moses.” The people were answering Joshua’s call to take the land of Canaan, but saying “the Lord your God” not “the Lord our God.” They didn’t take ownership, or enjoy a personal relationship with God. God belonged to someone else, and they just enjoyed the benefits of that relationship. We did the same things growing up in our mother’s house. She had a relationship with God. She prayed, she read her Bible, she took us to church, she leaned upon the Lord’s strength when we frustrated her.

We have been taught that Church just isn’t meaningful. Have you ever asked yourself why Mom ever went to church in the first place? Was her world so much different, the temptations so at odds with today that she wasn’t tempted to stay at home, especially on Sunday, when the prospect of getting kids up and ready for church just like every school day was every reason to skip church and take a day off?

Mom went to church every week to get that strength that doesn’t come from an energy boost. Mom went to church because she worshipped Jesus there. Hers was a personal relationship with God, not one that relied on others. She spoke to God personally, listened to His voice, and acted according to His will.

God’s plan is for everyone who approaches Him. You have questions? He welcomes them. You need answers, He has plenty! You need to belong? Welcome to the body of Christ! You need friends? We’ve got ‘em to spare! Don’t think the Church belongs to your mother. It can be yours too. He makes it very simple in the Scriptures:

  1. BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31)

  2. TURN FROM YOUR SINS (2 Corinthians 7:10)

  3. CONFESS THE NAME OF JESUS as Lord (Romans 10:9)

  4. BE BAPTIZED for your sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit and Eternal Life (Acts 2:38)

  5. LIVE FOR CHRIST! (Philippians 2:12)

This faith can be yours for the asking.